Seeing a stranger who reminds you of someone else, well, it happens to all of us. After my father died I saw dozens of little old men in hats like he wore, on their way here and there, not quite my dad, but close. Here Jonathan Bracker, who lives in San Francisco, sees for a moment someone he was once in love with. His most recent collection of poems is This Day (WordTech Press, 2015).
Going down the escalator
of the subway, I glanced across
and saw on the escalator’s partner
someone who looked a bit like you but with hair
not so soft and clean and warm as yours
brushing against mine
on those rare occasions
when inadvertently our foreheads
neared, making me wish it to stay.
We were not physical lovers
and never could have been.
But we were close. Moved three states away,
married happily or not, you are now
only a person I may hope to meet
momentarily, and not really then: merely
in my mind, because of what I chance to see.
But I am not unhappy about this
or think that I am not. Because of your hair.
Because of your beautiful hair.
Poem copyright 2016 by Jonathan Bracker and reprinted by permission of the author. American Life in Poetry is supported by the Poetry Foundation and supported by the English department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited submissions.
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